Earlier today it was announced that triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎] would be returning to the ring on August 12th to make his next defense of the Japanese Lightweight title, on a "Diamond Glove" show.
The bout, which will take place at Korakuen Hall, will see Yoshino taking on the once beaten Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7) [仲里周磨] in a very, very interesting match up.
Yoshino has, arguably, been the best Lightweight in Japan over the last few years, and has gone on to unify the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles during his career. Not only has he unified all 3 titles but he has also been picking up a string of notable wins including victories over Yoshitaka Kato, Harmonito Dela Torre and Valentine Hosokawa, and has shown both lights out power and solid rounded boxing skills. Sadly however he hasn't really kicked on, on been able to make any mark beyond on the Oriental scene, so far.
Nakazato on the other hand is a second generation fighter, following in the footsteps of former fighter Shigeru Nakazato, who fought for a world title and would win the OPBF Super Bantamweight title during his career. Although he has got some marks on his record they include a close loss to Hironori Mishiro in 2017, and draws against the then 6-0 Teppei Kayunuma and Yoshimitsu Kimura, as well as an opening round technical draw with Virgil Puton.
As well as the main event there have been other bouts confirmed for this card, including the return of former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) [佐川遼] who will take on Retsu Kosaka (10-6, 4) [小坂烈]. On paper this might not seem like a hugely notably match up, but it does give Sagawa a chance to avenge his first professional loss, and get revenge for a 2017 defeat to Kosaka, in what was Sagawa's second professional bout.
As with all Diamond Glove shows, this will be aired on Fuji TV, on some form of tape delay.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall we had the latest Dangan card, which was streamed live on Boxing Raise. The event was the biggest show of the year, but it was one that had a lot of promise, with several interesting match ups. Sadly one of those match ups was cancelled, with Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2) [矢代博斗] pulling out of his bout with Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) [高山涼深], but we still had a decent line up.
The show kicked off with a very fan friendly 4 round bout between the debuting pair of Shinya Kai (1-0) [甲斐 進也] and Kazumasa Fujiwara (0-1) [藤原 一将]. This was fun, exciting and the perfect way to kick off the show, with the action getting better as it went on. In the end Kai did just enough to earn the win, and get a W on his debut.
In the second bout Ryoichi Tamura (14-5-1, 7) [田村 亮一] took a narrow 5 round decision over Ryu Oba (5-5, 3) [大場 竜]. The bout, a 5 round "Prize Fight", saw Tamura race out and try to take Oba out early on. Oba, to his credit, saw out the storm in the first 2 rounds, and then Tamura began to tire, getting sloppy, and losing his form. This allowed Oba to box, move and make things much more competitive, though it seemed like Tamura was worth the win after the final bell. A close, but earned win in our eyes for the former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion.
Sadly after a really entertaining bout between Tamura and Oba we then saw Satoshi Kimura (4-4-2, 2) [木村 哲史] take a decision win against Takashi Hisano (5-5-2, 1) [久野 喬] in a slow burner. It took a few rounds for either man to really do anything of note, though the bout did finally get going late, with Kimura dropping Hisano in round 5. To be fair Hisano fought hard in round 6 but by then it was too little too late. The knockdown proved vital on the scorecards with two of the cards reading 57-56 in his favour, whilst the third judge had a peculiar 59-54 card to Kimura.
In the show's penultimate bout we got a legitimate treat as Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2-1, 7) [木村吉光] and Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7) [仲里周磨] fought to an 8 round draw. This was a bout that had everything, and more. It started slowly, with both men jabbing, trying to control the tempo behind their shots at mid-range. It then warmed up at the end of round 2 before going into a lull in round 3. It was the calm before the storm and at the end of round 4 a left hook, seconds before the bell, dropped Kimura hard. He got to his feet but was very lucky the bell came to his aid. Nakazato tried to jump on his man early in round 5, but failed to replicate his success as Kimura recovered his senses and then scored a knockdown of his own in round 7. It seemed nip and tuck as we entered round 8. Kimura tried to give himself the best chance of a win as he put it all on the line in the final 3 minutes, but it was just enough to earn a draw. This was the standout bout of the card and was a very, very good one for fan wanting to see the highlight of the show.
We then moved on to the main event, which promised a lot. It had OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (25-2, 8) [内藤 律樹] looking to defend his title for the 4th time as he took on Yusuke Konno (16-5, 9) [今野裕介]. On paper this had the ingredients to be a very interesting match up between men with very different styles. Naito being a speedy boxer and Konno being a tough and strong pressure fighter.
The bout started well enough, and saw Naito's speed being a key factor in the opening round. Then we saw Konno having success in round 2, as his pressure began to force Naito to fight his fight. Then Naito turned the bout on it's head with a string of solid rounds, using his speed, his movement and his energy to out box Konno, who's pressure was neutralised fairly easily. After 4 rounds two judges had it 40-36 with the third being 39-37, all Naito. It was easy to score, with Konno have intermittent success with right hands and Naito having regular success with his jab, hook and straights.
Naito also took round 5, and it seemed like he was going to cruise to an easy win, until round 6 when Konno forced his fight on to the champion. The entire round saw Konno being the boss, getting inside and battering the champion with hooks, uppercuts, straights. It seemed, almost in an instant, as if the bout had turned on it's head and that Naito was beginning to fall apart. And then we saw Konno fall apart, with the challenger fighting though round 7 looking tired, and exhausted, as if his effort in round 6 had taken a lot from him. Then it became apparent that it wasn't exhaustion affecting Konno, but an injury that left him unable to use his left hand, making him a one-handed fighter.
To his credit Konno did try fighting through the injury, with some mixed success in rounds 8 and 9, but was pulled out after the 9th when it was clear that he was completely unable to use his left hand. It was the right decision, and it's just a huge shame that he suffered an injury just as it seemed like he was beginning to find some success.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we'll see OPBF Light Welterweight title champion Rikki Naito (24-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] defending his title against Yusuke Konno (16-4, 9) [今野裕介], in a really interesting all-Japanese match up.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout, with both men hitting the scales bang on the 140lb divisional limit.
At the weigh in both men showed a lot of respect to each other. Naito spoke about the strength of Konno and accepted that he had to take the challenger seriously. As for Konno he seemed to be motivated by the fact Naito is a notable name, and has the OPBF title.
Sadly it was also reported that the other title bout on this show, between Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) [高山涼深] and Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2) [矢代博斗], has had to be cancelled due to Yashiro pulling out of the contest. The rest of the card will however go ahead as planned, including a mouth watering chief support bout between Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2, 7) [木村吉光] and Shuma Nakazato (10-1-2, 7) [仲里周磨], who both made the 130lb Super Featherweight limit.
For fans wanting to watch the show it will be available live on subscription service Boxing Raise, with the show having a live broadcast from 18:00 local time.
Related - Naito and Konno clash for OPBF title (Our full in depth preview of the bout)
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today Boxing Raise announced their schedule for the month of November. Unlike October there is set to be one live show, along with 6 tape-delay shows, including two of which took place on November 1st.
One of the two shows from November 1st being put on to the service was the Midori promoted card headlined by Masanori Rikiishi [力石 政法] taking on Soreike Taichi [木村太一] in a bout between Japanese ranked fighters. At the time of writing this main event is available on the service but the rest of the card isn't.
The other show from November 1st is the West Japan Rookie of the Year final, which will likely go up in the next few days. There is currently no bouts from this show uploaded, but they will be up shortly.
The next show to be added will be the November 3rd East Japan Rookie of the Year show. This is likely to be added either same day, or the day after the event, and will decide a number of the fighters involved in the East Japan final in December.
After 3 shows in 3 days it's then a lengthy wait until November 21st for the next show, but this is well worth the wait. This event will be the next DANGAN card and will be headlined by OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (24-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] battling Yusuke Konno (16-4, 9) [今野裕介] in a bout for the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles.
This is a really good card, and also features a solid match up between Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2, 7) [木村吉光] and Shuma Naklazato (10-1-2, 7) [仲里周磨] and a mouth watering clash between Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) [高山涼深] and Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2) [矢代博斗]
Notably this November 21st card will be shown live.
We then don't have much of a wait, with the Morioka promoted card on November 22nd being made available on delay. This is a low level card, but it is headlined by an interesting match up between Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田凌佑] and former world title challenger Shohei Omori (21-3, 16) [大森 将平].
The service will then add the November 25th card headlined by former world title challenger Norihito Tanaka (19-8, 10) [田中教仁] taking on Yuni Takada (8-5-2, 3) [高田勇仁].
The month will then end with a tape delay Dangan card consisting of all 4 round bouts, which tend to be low level action, but fun action, with novice giving us fun, intense, action.
Earlier today it was announced that OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (24-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] would be making his 4th defense on November 21st on a stacked card as part of a Dangan and Over Heat Boxer's Night show. And by stacked we genuinely mean stacked!
Naito will be defending his title in a very interesting all Japanese bout against Yusuke Konno (16-4, 9) [今野裕介], in what we expect will be a real shoot out. Although Naito is the quicker, more skilled fighter Konno is the heavier handed, tougher man, who hasn't shown the stamina issues that Naito has.
It's not just the main event to be excited by here, in fact the card has 3 or 4 bouts worthy of attention. One of those is the chief support bout between Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2, 7) [木村吉光] and Shuma Naklazato (10-1-2, 7) [仲里周磨]. Both of these men have lost close decisions to Hironori Mishiro and both will be looking to move towards a second bout with Mishiro in the near future. This will be a very high skilled and exciting match up between Japanese youngsters.
In a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout we'll see defending champion Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) [高山涼深] clash with Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2) [矢代博斗], in a bout that looks almost certain to provide fire works. This is the sort of bout that is great on paper, and even better in the ring, given the styles and mentality of the two men involved.
Another bout worthy of mention will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (13-5-1, 7) [田村亮一] face off with Ryu Oba (5-4, 3) [大場 竜] in a 5 round prize money bout, where a financial bonus is given to the winner if they can score a KO.
This show will be available on Boxing Raise and is a great reason to get their service for the penultimate month of the year.
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